So, I had an interesting opportunity this morning.

In one of those only-in-Washington salon-type meetings, I was at a breakfast with a senior official who works on the Obama administration’s education policy. Unlike me, most of the attendees work in the education community. There were folks with advocacy groups, teacher groups, non-profits and a couple of universities. And then there was me.

Maybe a lot of what was discussed was standard fare for those folks, but as somebody who’s never really been exposed to education policy before, it was a real eye-opener. And while Health Care Reform has obviously consumed a lot of the oxygen in our very own District of Columbia, it was really encouraging to hear that this Administration still has their eye on the ball on education and a whole range of other topics.

One constant theme that was addressed was the achievement gap—the difference in educational achievement that exists between poor/underserved school districts and middle class or affluent districts. Despite No Child Left Behind, despite all that’s been done to address this gap, the gap is not narrowing. In fact, it’s widening, and more and more children are being left behind.

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Self Referential…

On November 17, 2009, in Housekeeping, by Josh

Over at TuesdayNight, where I first blogged before it was blogging, Ian has put up a plug for this here little experiment.

This means I have to put up more content, which is a good thing.

That said, it’s late and I was out watching figure skating, complete with American Idols, Olivia Newton John, and Scott Hamilton and Dorothy Hamill. The event was called Kaleidoscope, and will air on Fox on Thanksgiving at 4:00. The goal of the program will be to raise awareness, and by association money, for cancer research. So watch.

And I’ll get back to writing soon.

[UPDATE] Fixed the link to Ian’s blog!

What is this, exactly?

On November 13, 2009, in Housekeeping, by Josh

Hi there!

Well, for a long time, I’ve talked about putting up a blog, and now I’ve finally done it.

So, what is this, exactly?

It’s going to be a lot of things, I hope. First off, an outlet for me to write about what’s  on my mind. It’s been too long since I was writing regularly, and while it might take me a few posts to get rolling, this is goal number one.

Will it be a political blog? Sometimes. Anybody who knows me know about my passion for politics. And there will never be a shortage of material–this much we know.

Will it be a food blog? Again, sometimes. I know this muddies the waters. You don’t see recipes on DailyKos and you don’t see Michael Ruhlman talking politics. At least not usually.

Will it be a blog about whatever’s in my head? Have I already said “sometimes?” As much as I love food and politics, I’ll probably rant about my Red Sox, talk about my job hunt, or anything else that catches my fancy.

Oh, and sometimes, it will be a photoblog. All my life, I’ve loved taking pictures, but somewhere along the way, I mothballed my old 35mm SLR. About a year ago, I got a dSLR, and the passion is back. So now I’m taking pictures again, and I’ll hopefully be sharing some of those, too.

So, here we go. I’m guessing this will start off a little rocky. Stick with me, and we’ll hopefully make this into something worth reading.


Who and what?

On November 2, 2009, in Housekeeping, by Josh

The first decision I had to make when setting this up was what to call it. I toyed with all kinds of politically clever names, many including double food entendres. None of them seemed particularly fitting, so, for now, it’s Raconteurs and Roustabouts.

The name comes from a Tom Waits song, “Small Change (Got Rained On With His Own .38)”. Tom Waits, like Bob Dylan, doesn’t have the prettiest voice but, also like Bob Dylan, is an amazing storyteller–or Raconteur. And why put up a blog if you don’t want to be a storyteller?

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